Zeek, the 2nd of H.O.P.E.’s 3 Musketeers came with his very own security bowl (instead of a blanket) and he was very attached to it. But shortly after Johnny left H.O.P.E., Zeek’s days of needing a bowl to feel secure would be over because he was the next to be scooped up by Shana Chiappone, of Chardon, Ohio. Zeek has since been renamed Dominick, after the Christmas song, “Dominick the Donkey.” In this famous Christmas song Dominick helps Santa bring presents to little kids in Italy. This past Christmas, Santa brought Dominick to the Chiappone’s! The now infamous donkey, formerly known as Zeek, has found his forever home at the Chiappone’s True Blue Farm. He has horses, goats, dogs, chickens, ducks and kitty cats as friends. Next time you hear his song, be sure to sing along!
Humane society housing pot-bellied pig
By: Deborah Lowers
Gail Keegan, executive director of the Lake Humane Society, feeds a dog treat to Penelope, a pot-bellied pig the society recently received.
Penelope is a skinny 75 pounds, sports a red mohawk and eats like a pig. At the estimated age of 5, Penelope was placed in a cage and taken to various parties where she would really ham it up. But she was rescued from the party life, and now Penelope is getting ready to look for a new home. "We call her Penelope the Party Pig," said Gail Keegan, executive director of the Lake Humane Society on Tyler Boulevard in Mentor. Penelope is a pot-bellied pig who was being raised by a small group of college kids, Keegan said. "There is no evidence of abuse, but there was neglect," she said. "I don't think it was intentional neglect, I just think they didn't know how to properly care for her." Her hair was spray-painted bright red on the top of her head to make it look like a mohawk. She also will sit up and beg if a treat is offered to her. A man who saw the pig at a party was told by her owners they wanted to get rid of her. The man took her and brought her to the Mentor facility, Keegan said. Penelope's nails were so long and thick she could barely walk, Keegan said. And at 75 pounds, that's about 15 pounds under her ideal weight, even for a pig. "The No. 1 cause of death for pot-bellied pigs is obesity," Keegan said. "As far as appetite control, they have none. People think they should be round and fat, but too fat is bad." Penelope will not be ready for public viewing until later this week. Currently, she is in a makeshift pen in a back room at the Lake Humane Society. She is litter box-trained and wags her tail when visitors approach her. Shelter officials are unsure if she has been spayed. A veterinarian will check her, but if she is not, her new owner will be encouraged to have it done because female pigs can get very hormonal and moody if they are not fixed, Keegan said. "It's almost PMS-like," she said with a smile. Whoever adopts her will have to know the proper way to care for a pig and will have to take her to a vet who knows farm animals. It's also important to check city ordinances to see if ownership of a pig is allowed. Renters need written permission from their landlord. Pigs live to be about 11 years old and eat Pig Chow, which can be purchased at a feed store. They also eat limited vegetables. Although the Lake Humane Society has had pigs brought in before, Penelope is by far the nicest, Keegan said. She had one more bit of advice for prospective owners. "Pigs can't do steps," she said. "If you do have steps, some type of ramp will have to be put in."
A hogtied goat, a lifesaving cockatiel and an aspiring filmmaker
By: David S. Glasier
They all gained fame in 2005
Again, the time has come to invoke the memory of the late Andy Warhol and his prescient observation of some 40-odd years ago that "In the future, everyone will be famous for 15 minutes." On this first day of 2006, let's look back fondly at creatures on four legs as well as two who had their moments in the spotlight last year.
The year of the ... On the Chinese calendar, 2005 was the Year of the Rooster. In Northeast Ohio, it was the year of a goat in the headlines. Moo Goo, the male Pygmy goat of note, burst onto the local scene in August when he was found hogtied and lying on a piece of cardboard behind the Grand Buffet restaurant in Mentor. To make a long story reasonably short, investigators from the Mentor Police Department and Lake County Health District smelled something, uh, fishy, when they arrived on the scene and espied not just the forlorn goat, but also 13 pigeons stashed inside near the cash register. The owner of the Chinese restaurant, Jean Ni, said it was all just a big misunderstanding, and the animals were intended as pets. That explanation notwithstanding, the goat was removed from the scene and sent to the Lake County Humane Society for treatment of minor injuries. He soon was sporting the new moniker of Moo Goo. As for the pigeons, they were permitted to fly the coop to a new roost in Ashtabula County. Moo Goo was adopted by a Chardon woman who wishes not to be identified, but reports that the newest addition to her family's menagerie shares a happy home on the Geauga County range with a rooster, a chicken, a snake, a dog, an undetermined number of cats, six ducks, four horses and, most importantly for Moo Goo, four female Pygmy goats. P.S.: The news wasn't so good for the Grand Buffet, which suffered an immediate and steep decline in business after the goat-pigeons incident and is now closed.
Hangin' tough Munson Township resident Margaret Bobonich acquitted herself well as one of 16 contestants on "Survivor: Guatemala - The Maya Empire." The 43-year-old family nurse practitioner spent seven weeks in steamy Guatemala shooting episodes of the 11th edition of the popular CBS reality-contest series. She made it through five episodes before getting voted off when the sixth episode aired in late October. Bobonich got plenty of support from her husband, Steve, and sons Mike and Chase.
No batteries needed Here's your basic bad-news, good-news tale. John and Kim New of Willoughby didn't have working fire detectors in their home when a blaze swept through the place on a chilly April morning. The good news is, they had Spike the cockatiel. When the fire started, Spike made such a fuss in his cage that it roused the News and their teenage sons, Don and Seth Teter, from their sleep. Thanks to Spike's heroics, the two-legged inhabitants of the house managed to rescue themselves as well as their other pets, a dog and turtle. It's the safest of safe bets that the News and their sons will never again squawk about having to tidy up Spike's cage. Sorry, couldn't resist that one.
Helping hands Here are two of many examples of how Northeast Ohioans opened their hearts and wallets to victims of 2005's various natural disasters. Early in the year, after the deadly tsunami in the Indian Ocean, sixth-grader Sarah Starcher of St. Mary of the Assumption School in Mentor made bracelets and then sold them to schoolmates to raise money for tsunami victims. She turned over $450 to Catholic Relief Services Fund. Last fall, teams of emergency medical technicians from Geauga and Ashtabula counties went to Louisiana after Hurricane Katrina caused such misery there. We've been known to be a little contentious in these parts, but when the chips are down, we dig deep and do the right thing.
This dog did go home again In early September, when David Ballon and his family were forced from their Louisiana home in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, they made the heartbreaking decision to leave behind the family dog, a boxer mix named Daisy. Thanks to the efforts of the Animal Emergency Response Network, Daisy was saved and eventually sent to the Geauga Humane Society Rescue Village. In November, after spotting their beloved pet on www.petfinders.com, the Ballons were reunited with Daisy.
Lights, camera, action! Nate Hahn, an aspiring filmmaker from Newbury Township, wasn't going to wait for someone else to give him the proverbial "big break." Instead, the 23-year-old graduate of Notre Dame-Cathedral Latin High School and Ohio State University formed his own company, Buckeye Searchlight Productions, and made his first feature-length film, "Detachment," on a $15,000 budget. We're not sure what the future holds for Hahn in a notoriously tough business, but we do know this: Steven Spielberg came out of the University of Southern California film school with an 8-millimeter camera and a dream, and look what happened to him.
Furry friends getting help
By: Steve Palisin
Rescuing livestock poses challenges
His chocolate brown eyes sparkle in the sunlight, and he walks on a leash like a dog. He even lifts his leg to tinkle on the grass as male pooches do.
Moo Goo, a mixed-breed goat, is not the typical rescue by animal shelters.
Rescuing livestock like Moo Goo poses challenges for agencies such as the Lake County Humane Society in Mentor that are typically equipped to assist in lessening the plights for dogs, cats, rabbits and other smaller animals.
For horses and cattle, said Lake County Humane Society Executive Director Candace Hertzel, "we have to rely on contacting shelters in bordering counties, or the public, for foster homes. We can't bring them here. We have no trailer."
Moo Goo remains temporarily housed by someone with a pasture whose identity is not revealed for the owner and animal's safety. Before his veterinary checkup last week for an upper respiratory infection, Moo Goo's composure shows why many families have offered him a home for good.
Moo Goo, weighing 67 pounds and estimated at 5 years of age, was named by the Humane Society after his seizure last month from a Mentor restaurant.
The two men who had dropped off the goat - He En Liu, 35, of Macon, Ga., and Yu Zheng, 30, of Geneva - pleaded no contest in Mentor Municipal Court to animal cruelty. They were each found guilty, sentenced to 30 days' suspended jail time, and fined $350.
County health tests showed
the eatery does not serve goat meat.
Last weekend, the shelter, with a warrant and Lake County Sheriff's personnel, also picked up three not-so-little pigs from a North Perry Village residence. Charlotte, Marty and Wilbur tip the scales at about 100 pounds each.
Hertzel shows photos the Lake County Humane Society's humane officer, Shawna Huggins, took to document the conditions the pigs endured, for probable court evidence.
"It looks like they were in wet cement," Hertzel said.
"They had no place to dry up. ... Their only relief was to jump on each other."
Huggins describes the degree of the pigs' starvation: They collectively consumed 2 gallons of water and a bag of dog food on the van ride back to the Humane Society.
A home for now
In a temporary pen formed by makeshift fencing that includes tables turned on their side, the pigs relax in part of the Humane Society's garage. Straw provides soothing comfort for stretching out, a plastic children's pool for cooling off. (Like dogs, pigs do not perspire.)
Six bags of fruits and veggies arrive, including carrots, bananas and potatoes. The pigs partake, almost smiling as they chew, making eye contact with people watching.
The broccoli tickles their taste buds the most.
If the Humane Society wins custody of this trio, Hertzel said it plans to find "a sanctuary-type setting."
Animals are also sometimes reunited with owners. Another pig the Humane Society helped had wandered away one evening earlier this month in Madison Township.
The swine's home was found shortly, though, after some help from police, and even some door-to-door inquiries, said the rescuer, Cindy Olds.
"Successes are far and away" Olds' favorite part of the job, she said. "That's what keeps us going."
Hertzel, a former shelter manager for the Animal Protective League in Cleveland, said caring for larger animals requires different foods, medical care, vaccines and transportation.
Drugs were special-ordered for Moo Goo's malady.
A rescue van with built-in cages works for hauling dogs, cats and smaller animals, but only a cargo van can carry pigs or goats - rescues that are "sporadic," sometimes six months apart, Hertzel said.
Nora Stanton of Newbury Township calls herself "an animal nut," with a household of rescued cats and dogs.
She and her husband of 44 years, Jack, also raised seven children, including four special-needs adoptees.
Stanton shows the "rescue trailer, hooked up 24/7," indoor arena and large stalls she uses when she is called upon by Sarah Westman, the humane officer for nine years at the Geauga County Humane Society's Rescue Village in Russell Township. That agency has broken ground on a barn to shelter large animals confiscated, such as horses.
A cat purring along her leg in a chair, Stanton four times repeats "years" when remembering her roots for a "lifelong passion for animals in distress."
She said her father would kid her as a child about returning home on horseback with orphaned animals. Decades later, she counts more than 100 horses and "only about 20 cows ... and 50 goats" among her livestock rescues.
"We don't save them all," Stanton said. "Some have to be put down. That is a kindness in itself. ... That gives us time to help others."
"It takes money for veterinary care and feed and hay, and you have to have someone taking care of them," Westman said.
She said the agency has used foster homes for 25 years, thanks to "certain people who have always been very helpful."
Animals, even exotic ones
such as lions and bears, taken from their owners result from a cruelty investigation, Westman explains.
She receives notice through phone calls, sometimes anonymously, as well as messages and pages at any hour.
Patrol duty fills five days a week for her, too.
"When we have hard winters and such," Westman said, "that's when you see more problems with large animals: not enough water, food, care."
Case by case
It's done on a case-by-case basis, Westman explains. If a horse can't run, for example, "It has to go to a place where it won't be ridden. It'll just be a pasture buddy as a pet."
Stanton remembers two Arabian horses in a rounded metal barn.
"They were so hungry, they had eaten all the lumber," Stanton recalls of the stalls.
"They were skin and bones. ... It took me a long time to bring them back."
The Stantons' four horses were all rescued at some point: Charlie, 30, a Hafflinger pony; Joshua, 10, a Belgian-Hafflinger draft mix; Shosoni, 7, a mustang, complete with a U.S. government branding; and Zackias, 10, another pony.
When Westman's workday ends, "I go home to my own human and animal family," she said.
That includes three cats, three dogs, a pig, two ducks and a 25-year-old cockatoo, and "the majority are rescues."
Some people help rescue animals through their own everyday encounters.
Pediatric nurse Linda Maloney and stable operator Patt Ludwig, both of Chester Township, share a heart for horses.
Maloney recalls shopping with her niece for a horse for her daughter last year.
"We saw these horses," she said, "and they obviously had not had water in a while."
Maloney said she returned with Ludwig and mustered up money to buy five of the horses.
Although one died several weeks later, homes were found for three, and Ludwig has "put anywhere from 700 to 800 pounds" on the other, a 10-year-old thoroughbred named Racine, which they kept.
Ludwig said five "rescues" in her barns like providing the rides in lessons for children, too.
"God has given animals a wonderful forgiveness," Maloney said, "that a lot of them will forgive the human race and give us a second and a third and a fourth chance."
For details on providing foster care to farm animals, call Susan Hoicowicz at the Lake County Humane Society at (440) 951-6122; or Sarah Westman at the Geauga County Humane Society's Rescue Village at (440) 338-4819, Ext. 14.
Goat found at restaurant
By: Jamie Ward
Pigeons also found at Chinese buffet; owner calls animals pets
Mentor police and Lake County health agencies are investigating a live goat that was found tied by its legs behind a Chinese buffet in Mentor.
Police discovered the animal lying on cardboard at Grand Buffet in Points East plaza on Mentor Avenue, Lt. Gil Urcheck said.
Thirteen caged pigeons were also found inside the restaurant behind the cash register.
Lake County Health Commissioner Joel Lucia said his office was doing a full investigation concerning what the animals were doing at the restaurant.
"We know there was a goat found, and also know that pigeons should not have been inside the restaurant," Lucia said.
He said the health department had gathered multiple samples of the restaurant's meat and were awaiting results.
"We're checking to make sure meat does not come from an unapproved source and also that they are not misrepresenting to the public what they are offering on their menu," Lucia said.
The restaurant has been inspected in the past and has received a clean review, the department said.
Just before 9 p.m. Tuesday, police received a call from a woman who was making a delivery to Old Navy clothing store. She told police two men had dropped the goat off. It was hog-tied and making noise, but was still alive.
The restaurant's owner, Jean Ni, claimed the animals were pets.
"We don't use goat or pigeon in food," Ni said in a phone interview Thursday. "Somebody brought the animals here to show my kids. They were pets."
She said the pigeons were brought into the restaurant because she was afraid they would cause trouble while outside.
"They (officials) are checking everything," Ni said. "That man just stopped here."
Police tracked the men who made the delivery and arrested them for animal cruelty.
He En Lie, 35, of Macon,
Ga., and Yu Zheng, 30, of Geneva, were both arrested on misdemeanor animal cruelty charges.
They were scheduled to be arraigned Thursday, but the court lacked interpreters so it was rescheduled for Sept. 1 in Mentor Municipal Court. Police said the men were released on a $500 cash bond.
The two men told police they had purchased the goats from Ed Lind Livestock in Medina as pets, Lt. Urcheck said.
Anita Lind, bookkeeper for the farm, said she remembered the sale and marked the animals as sold for slaughter.
"We usually get a lot of ethnic people who come from restaurants," Lind said.
"People come to us and buy live animals to butcher themselves, rather than have us do it for them."
She said it is a very rare occurrence when the farm sells any animals as pets.
"Every now and again a kid comes from 4-H and wants to
buy one of our animals," Lind said.
"But 90 percent of the time they're going to be butchered."
The goat was taken from the restaurant by the Lake County Humane Society.
Candace Hertzel, the society's executive director, said the goat was being treated for eye and upper respiratory infections, but remained in their care.
"He's doing great. He'll be housed here for a day or two and then a member of our staff will keep him at their home until we find a suitable home for him," Hertzel said.
She said they are calling the goat "Moo Goo."
Hertzel said the pigeons were not removed because the men said they were transporting them to a residence in Ashtabula County to be kept as pets. She said the Ashtabula Humane Society has been notified.
Mentor police and the health board are still investigating the matter.
The Grand Buffet remains open.